WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Damaging Lake Okeechobee Water Discharges To Florida Estuaries To Be Reduced

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

Water managers announced Thursday they will reduce discharges of polluted water from a rain-swollen Lake Okeechobee to delicate coastal estuaries.

But the estuaries to the east and west of the state’s largest lake face a slow recovery.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will reduce the discharges by about half to the St. Lucie Estuary and by less than half to the Caloosahatchee Estuary.

Jim Jeffords of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says drier weather makes the reductions possible, but the estuaries’ water quality will improve slowly.

“Our main thing that we really are hoping for is drier weather. That’s our main concern,” he says. “This is supposed to be our dry season. And it’s turned out to our wet season going into another wet season.”

Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Lee, Martin and Saint Lucie counties as the discharges there turned the water brown, hurting businesses dependent on it.

Jeffords says if Lake Okeechobee begins rising again the discharges will resume.

Mark Perry of the Florida Oceanographic Society says the reductions will bring some relief.

“The oysters and sea grass beds have already been under fresh water conditions for 40-plus days, and that’s not good for those resources.”

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida COVID-19 news, updates on special programs and more. Support our extended coverage.


WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity

Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades, under contract with Johns Hopkins ... Read Full Bio »